Friday, May 1, 2009

Rating the DMGs

My personal ranking of the various DM Guides for D&D.
  1. 1st Edition AD&D DMG, 4th edition DMG (tied)
  2. -
  3. Holmes Blue Book (yeah it got the player stuff in it too)
  4. 3rd Edition, (gets a nudge over 2nd edition because of the NPCs Classes)
  5. 2nd Edition
The central problem of the 2nd and 3rd edition DMGs is that at their heart they were just lists of items for DM eyes only.

4th edition DMG breaks with this and returns to 1st Edition and the Blue Book example of actually teaching the referee something. The 4 edition DMG gets a A+ for it's advice on running the game and handling players, it gets a A+ for having an actual mini-setting and a complete town.

It get an solid A for exposing the math behind everything in 4e and explaining it in a way that a person doesn't have a degree in Star Fleet Battle, a masters in Advanced Squad Leader, and a doctoral in Hero System can understand. Of course they get critized for doing that by people saying that how the game must be played. I found those chapters a useful tool for fine-tuning my 4e NPCs and encounters.

However the weak Dungeon gets a resounding D- and Wizards gets a D- for ignoring nearly every example in their own DMG except for that one Dungeon.

However to be fair, it looks like Wizard's is recognizing the issue. We will see what next year brings.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I have a deep affection for the 3rd Edition DMG, mostly because of the effect the world-building chapter had on my newbie-DM brain, but the 4th Edition DMG is really a great book, and much better as an intro volume. Easily the best out of its set, and one of the real redeeming factors in 4e's favor, to my eyes.